It takes persistence and lots of practice, but you can master a new language. Try these tips to get started.
Step 1: Take a group class Take a group language class rather than hiring a private tutor. You'll learn from others' mistakes and have friends to practice with. Read, write, translate, and speak the language daily.
Step 2: Immerse yourself Immerse yourself in the culture. Travel to the country that speaks the language you wish to learn and start soaking up the sounds -- the best way to become fluent. Consider working or volunteering abroad and living with a host family.
TIP: If you can't travel abroad, find a section of a city that speaks your target language, hang out there, and engage in conversation with native speakers.
Step 3: Imitate Imitate the expressions and sounds of the locals. Watch how they move their mouths and try to copy them exactly whether you know what they're saying or not. Eventually, these phrases will come out naturally when you need them.
TIP: Resisting the urge to translate everything or memorizing specific phrases is key for obtaining fluency fast.
Step 4: Ask questions and write down phrases Memorize the phrases "What is this called?" and "How do you say that?" Ask the locals on a daily basis to find out about things you're interested in but don't know how to say. Write down phrases you didn't fully understand and look them up in a dictionary later.
Step 5: Watch movies and TV Watch foreign-language movies and television without subtitles, listen to music, and read foreign newspapers or magazines to help the language effortlessly seep into you mind.
Step 6: Learn from mistakes Learn from your mistakes. Make a note of them and take the time to work on them to improve.
Step 7: Keep in touch Keep in touch with people you meet abroad. E-mailing or writing on their Facebook wall is a great way to keep up your new language skills.
FACT: A study by the British Foreign Office found that the most difficult language to learn is Basque, spoken in parts of Spain and France, followed closely by Hungarian.